Sad News From London

Discussion in 'Jazz / Commercial' started by lonelyangel, Sep 26, 2005.

  1. lonelyangel

    lonelyangel Pianissimo User

    Age:
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    Nov 8, 2003
    London
    I am very sad to report the news that at around 10pm London time Alan Downey passed away in Kingston hospital. He was 62 years old.

    For those of you who are not familiar with his name may I suggest you type the phrase, "alan downey" trumpet, into google.

    My dear friend Henry Lowther maintains that Alan was the most exciting lead trumpet player ever to have emerged from these islands. He had an exhillerating sound and had wonderful timing, the jazz musicians lead trumpeter.

    It was in the interval between sets at my gig at Ronnie Scotts that Derek Watkins and I both received a call with the sad news from Swedish trumpeter, Christian Beck who was a close friend of Alans. It seemed strange that we had just got off stage having played three of Alan's beautiful big band charts for Georgie Fame. We actually remarked to each other tonight that we would have to invite Alan along to the club to hear his charts. Alan was a first class arranger and composer - there are hundreds of his charts in the BBC big band library. Many of you will no doubt be familiar with his composition and arrangement of "Give It One" for Maynard Ferguson - which I seem to recall came joint first in a poll of favourite MF tracks a while back.

    Sadly Alan had been suffering from serious mental and physical health problems over the last several years - although in recent times had been making a comeback as a player, guesting with the BBC big band several times this year. I myself first had the huge pleasure of working with Alan 14 years ago on the award winning London production of Carmen Jones - which was reorchestrated for a big band - with the lead part tailor made with Alan's charismatic sound and presence in mind. Sitting next to him night after night was an inspiration and an education.

    If you want to hear Alan's playing at its best then you could do worse than check out a copy of Kenny Wheelers ECM album, "Music For Large and Small Ensembles" on which Alan shared the lead with Derek Watkins. (I will ask Henry Lowther which tracks Alan played 1st on and report back).

    Due to Alan's health problems it was almost as if we lost him from the musical world several years ago, yet that does not make his passing any easier to take. At his best Alan was the life and soul of the party. A loud, effervescent Liverpudlian with an irreverant sense of humour and a charming generosity of spirit. The phrase "give it one" could sum up his attitude to playing and to life and he will be sorely missed by his associates all around the world.

    I am certain that there will be a memorial service and concert in Alan's honour and I will post any information here as soon as I can.

    Noel Langley
     
  2. lonelyangel

    lonelyangel Pianissimo User

    Age:
    54
    195
    2
    Nov 8, 2003
    London
    Just thought I'd post this paragraph from an email that Bobby Shew sent me. He was a close friend of Alans for many years having worked with him on numerous occasions.

    "Alan has been alot in touch with me these past few months as well. I
    think about 6 months or so ago, he started phoning regularly. We had
    some wonderful, NORMAL conversations. I was pleasantly surprised that he
    seemed very much like his old self, even the chuckle was back. He sent
    me three arrangements he just did for me. I have yet to copy the parts
    and run thru them. WIth his untimely passing, I'll make it an even
    higher priority to get them done as they could very likely be some of
    his last writing."

    All the best. Noel.
     
  3. Chris4

    Chris4 Pianissimo User

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    Jul 16, 2005
    This has been a very sad week for trumpeters. Downey was a great player and writer. He will be missed.
     

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